7:00 p.m. ET – New Orleans (-9½) at Orlando O/U: 221
The 25-33 Pelicans travel to the Amway Center to take on the 18-40 Magic on Thursday night. New Orleans has lost four games in a row, most recently a 134-129 loss to the Nets on Tuesday. It was not Brooklyn at full strength, as Kevin Durant and James Harden both did not play in the contest. Orlando has lost three games in a row, falling 112-96 to the Hawks on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans are led by superstar Williamson, who is averaging 26.9 points per game and arguably has exceeded high expectations in just his second year in the league. New Orleans will also have guard Lonzo Ball and forward Ingram in the lineup for this rematch of the April 1 contest.
The four losses in a row are a tad misleading for New Orleans because two of those losses came in overtime and the other two were close games down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Put simply, the Pelicans are looking to take out some of their recent frustration on Thursday night against an inferior opponent.
Orlando blew everything up at the trade deadline when they dealt away its three best players in center Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls, Evan Fournier to the Celtics, and forward Aaron Gordon to the Nuggets. Despite that, the team has been frisky since then with younger players getting more playing time and trying to prove they belong in the league.
Guards Cole Anthony, Dwayne Bacon, RJ Hampton, and Gary Harris are all getting big-time minutes now and trying to prove their worth for the Magic. Another reason for the team not quitting has been veteran guard Terrance Ross’ presence in the locker room as a leader and his performance on the court, as he is averaging 15.6 points per game. However, Ross is questionable on Thursday night with a back injury. If he cannot play, that would place the Magic at a massive disadvantage when trying to slow Williamson and Ingram down.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|New Orleans Pelicans||-9½ (-110)||-450||O 220 (-110)|
|Orlando Magic||+9½ (-110)||+350||U 220 (-110)|
The value on this game lies in the spread and it is wise not to overthink it. New Orleans is the better basketball team and has finally gotten its full starting lineup back and healthy. The first matchup saw the Pelicans sit their top three scorers and it took overtime for the Magic to put them away with a healthy Terrance Ross in the lineup. It has been a difficult stretch in the schedule for the Pelicans and they want to see that four-game losing streak come to a screeching halt.